Coming off a set of three games in which they lost two to divisional opponents, the Prince Albert Raiders came out on the winning side by six goals Wednesday against the Lethbridge Hurricanes.
Powered in part by forward Sean Montgomery’s two-goal, one-assist game, the Raiders beat the Hurricanes 8-2 in Western Hockey League action from the Alberta city.
The win marks the first time in more than two years that the P.A. club beat Lethbridge in its own rink; the last time was Dec. 4, 2015.
Comparing Wednesday’s win with their last two games – both of which were losses to teams with exceptional goaltending – Raiders head coach Marc Habscheid said his team’s play and its effort was the same across all three contests.
“We played good on the weekend. There’s nothing to forget about that, other than we didn’t get the points. But we should have won both games.
“Tonight the hockey gods smiled on us.”
Along with Montgomery’s three points on the night, the Raiders had goals from six other skaters, spread over all three periods of the game.
“We played the same we did against Regina and Brandon,” both of who beat the Raiders on Monday and Saturday, respectively.
“Except, (tonight) we got some stops and we got some goals. So that was the difference.”
The Raiders opened the game’s scoring early, thanks to goals from Brett Leason at 16 seconds and Montgomery at 2:53 of the first period.
Lethbridge made it interesting when Jadon Joseph cut the deficit to one goal at 14:34 of the opening period. But that was it for the Hurricanes.
Justin Nachbaur extended the Raiders’ lead to two goals, with assists from Montgomery and Leason at 18:58 of the frame.
After that, the P.A. club never looked back, scoring two goals in the second period and three goals in the third period to take a commanding seven-goal lead.
Curtis Miske and Cole Fonstad had the second-period goals, while Kody McDonald, Montgomery and Sergei Sapego found the back of the net in the third period.
Lethbridge centreman Keltie Jeri-Leon managed a second goal at 11:48 of the third period, but the game was more or less out of reach for his team by that point.
With his goal, Leason extended his career-best scoring streak to four games.
Meanwhile, the team’s third line of Nachbaur, Montgomery and Regan Nagy powered the Raiders through stretches of the game Wednesday. “It seemed like that line had a pretty good mojo going,” Habscheid said.
He underscored Montomgery’s influence on his linemates.
“He’s just a good two-way player. He makes other guys around him better … he’s just a good, honest player. He doesn’t cheat the game, he plays it the right way.”
Raiders goalie Ian Scott stopped 35 of 37 shots for the win.
Hurricanes netminder Reece Klassen got the hook from the game after Montgomery’s second goal, at 4:54 in the third period. Logan Flodell closed out the game for his team.
The Raiders (24-25-9-2) are off from play on Thursday. They continue their Alberta road trip on Friday, when they head to Red Deer for a contest with the Rebels (21-27-10-3).
Red Deer has been on a hot streak of late, winning eight of its last 10 games. With their recent success, the Rebels have climbed into the third and final playoff spot in the WHL’s Central Division.